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My wife and I have known each other and been good friends for around ten years, but only got together four years ago. Fast forward to today we are married, have our own place and a 2.5 year old son.

We only recently married, but our relationship has been solid for the most part with a few hurdles here and there which seem natural enough, but I've noted a couple of times that I'm being held at a different standard that she isn't holding herself to.

We've had this discussion about a number of topics like work, children responsibilities, free time management to name a few. However since I'm only focusing on a few cases regarding the opposite sex and we've had few enough instances where that's been an issue so I'll preface those.

The first time was when we've been together for around a year, we were living together and she was pregnant. She asked me to fix something on her laptop as I'm tech-savvy unlike her.

Due to her broken touch pad (sometimes it went crazy for a second or two) I miss-clicked and found myself in a folder which contained pictures send by Viber which I didn't know she had and that seemed a bit sketchy, but what really got my attention was a picture of her ex carrying her bridal style in front of a bed you'd assume right before intercourse. Now I won't say I felt good seeing the picture, but being an adult I understand that she's had previous relationships and so have i, and then I saw that the picture was sent 3 days before we got together which made me feel uneasy.

I should mention that my previous relationship which lasted more than three years ended pretty badly with me finding out she had cheated multiple times, had at least two relationships ongoing relationships while she was with me and it left me with trust issues, something I had discussed at length with my now wife.

So at this point my reaction was to check her messenger, something I hadn't done until that point since I never felt I had a reason to, but I was having a "Oh no, not again" moment and I found out they were still talking frequently in a very friendly matter, which seemed odd considering she told me he abused/beat her and that if I ever lay a hand on her she will immediately leave me. During their conversations I noticed that he often talked about sex, not with her per se, but she didn't seem to mind it either way.

My next reaction wasn't very adult-like, but I just left the laptop as it was - showing that I had read the conversations and seen the picture, went to a friend's place and had a couple of beers while not picking up my phone. The reason I did this however was because I knew I was affected and probably angry so I had to clear my head before talking about it.

I didn't mention a thing to my friend, but was thinking about it the whole time and tried not to jump to conclusions, before she had the opportunity to explain so after feeling I had cooled down went home to talk.

She explained that she doesn't use Viber anymore, that's why I didn't know about it and she can't control when someone sends something and asked if she wanted to stop talking to her ex - to which I replied yes, though looking back at it I probably shouldn't have asked. She told him that they can't talk anymore emphasizing on the part that I don't want them to and that kind of hurt me, not because it wasn't true, but the way it was said and the response was him insulting me for being a "pussy" to which she only sent smiley emojis.

In the end we agreed that I overreacted, moved on and this hasn't come up ever since. She also removed all of her password-saving on our laptops so I cannot access anything on my own.

I won't go into this much detail with the times she has confronted me with those kind of issues, but in my eyes they were ridiculous at best.

  • Being friendly over messenger with my female cousin who I've spend my childhood with (she didn't know we were cousins)

  • Playing an online game with a group of people, one of which happens to be a girl (it's a 5 vs 5 game), which I've never met, and we were planning a meeting since we (me, wife and child) were going to be visiting their (the four other people, girl involved) town and wanted to do a real-life meetup since we were playing quite often at that point. I essentially had to cut all ties with those people, which subsequently killed my desire to play the game at all.

  • Getting hints (which I'll admit I totally missed) by a girl online, to which I didn't reciprocate anyway as she was helping me with a part-time work assignment and that was entirely where my conversations with her were aimed at. This is from the current year so it shows that she is still digging through my messages, but I don't mind it all that much if she feels more secure, it's still a bit insulting that she doesn't trust me though.

  • Recently got a new job in a small firm and although she seemed uninterested by my new office/male colleagues she had a mild reaction when she found out that I had a female colleague as in she asked a bunch of questions like "is she good looking" "how old" etc..

Meanwhile in the last couple of months at her work she is constantly asked to travel with her boss/supervisor who is the one who got her the job there. He has been nothing, but good to us, getting her that job which is extremely niche and has only several positions in the entire country, not to mention it's been her dream job for as long as in know her. I have only good feelings regarding this person and feel grateful for the opportunity he has provided her.

As of late she has needed to travel quite frequently for the conferences from work as well as, because she is working to get her master's degree and the speciality she needs is not available in our city. I don't mind the traveling in itself, but she tags her boss with her even when it's not entirely necessary e.g few days ago she went for her thesis defense and he joined in because she needs moral support/help to prepare.

I want to emphasize that this is not about trust. I don't suspect that she is cheating, but I'm somewhat annoyed because knowing her if I brought it to light as something that's bothering me she would probably ridicule me as she always does when I so much as hint I might be jealous, even though I imagine if the tables were turned she would most likely go batshit crazy.

So my question is how can I get my wife to see that she is holding me to a higher standard than she holds herself?

closed as off-topic by ElizB, scohe001, paparazzo, Jalapeno Nachos, RedSonja Sep 27 '18 at 5:54

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Asking "What should I do?" is off topic. - Questions should ask for help achieving a specific goal. Your question is asking for personal advice on "what to do" without defining a goal; this is too subjective. Edit your question to explain what you hope to achieve and how you would like to interact with the others involved." – ElizB, scohe001, paparazzo, Jalapeno Nachos
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Hi and Welcome to IPS.SE. Currently, as put, the question seems about intrapersonal matters (coping), and also asking us what to do. To be on topic we require questions to focus on interpersonal skills and to have a goal you want to achieve. – user6109 Sep 26 '18 at 14:31
  • @ArtificialSoul I had to quit the group is a huge overstatement on my part. I chose that option since it was the easiest and i have plenty of other friends/activities and not a lot of free time, so it didn't feel like a big-deal to ditch people i only knew online. And i wholeheartedly agree with the not-healthy relationship, but fixing issues is what i've come to believe a relationship is all about. -Daniel if that's the case i apologize, how do i go about getting it transferred? – Plamen Sep 26 '18 at 14:51
  • Can you explain this "She also removed all of her password-saving on our laptops so I cannot access anything on my own." And then you mention that she can read all of your messages. Are you saying that she is allowed to keep all her communications secret but you are not? – Philbo Sep 26 '18 at 14:57
  • We've never brought it up. I believe she won't mind if i cut her access to mine however i've never felt the need to do that, neither did i feel the need to look at her, but i'm positive she will let me if i ask. – Plamen Sep 26 '18 at 15:01
  • @Plamen having equal access (or lack of) to each others messages is a start. You want parity, and don't have it there. Are you sure she wouldn't mind when you have given examples of her using that knowledge to chastise you for things you haven't done? – Philbo Sep 26 '18 at 15:05
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I am going to start by saying I have a very strong distaste for controlling people. Any form of control one partner has over the other should be consensual and not coerced. That is a very distinct difference between a healthy relationship and an abusive one.

Your wife exerts control over you for unbased jealousy

Playing an online game with a group of people, one of which happens to be a girl (it's a 5 vs 5 game), which I've never met, and we were planning a meeting since we (me, wife and child) were going to be visiting their (the four other people, girl involved) town and wanted to do a real-life meetup since we were playing quite often at that point. I essentially had to cut all ties with those people, which subsequently killed my desire to play the game at all.

If I understood that right, your wife specifically made you cut ties to a group of friends on the mere basis of jealousy regarding a person you have never met in person.
That is not healthy.

In your comment you claimed:

I had to quit the group is a huge overstatement on my part. I chose that option since it was the easiest and i have plenty of other friends/activities and not a lot of free time, so it didn't feel like a big-deal to ditch people i only knew online.

This shows you have adapted to your wife's controlling nature. You know that arguing and standing your ground is a tedious process and just give in on every whim she has. Even IF in this specific case you really didn't care that much about the people - which I doubt, since you wanted to meet them - there was no reason to ditch them besides your wife's controlling nature.

In the other case, where you had a severe reason for jealousy her response was locking you out of her devices.
She is entirely controlling of your relationship and it does not appear to be consensual as you are very unhappy with it.

[...] if I brought it to light as something that's bothering me she would probably ridicule me as she always does when I so much as hint I might be jealous, [...]

This is not healthy. There is a fetish for humiliation and ridicule - it does not seem to be one you have.

Your goal should not be coping with the double standard

Your goal should be changing it and making your wife treat you fairly.
Of course, you can't just remove her jealousy, but you can free yourself of unwanted control.

This is only possible through extensive communication. Talk to her specifically about her double standards. Give exactly the examples you gave here. Show her the extent of the control she is forcing on you and make it clear you are serious.
Make it clear you want fairness, not control over her.

I am aware that this is far easier advice to give than to adhere to, but I am sure it is a necessity in your scenario. You are clearly suffering from the status as it is - understandably. Your goal has to be improving the status quo - not having to deal with it and be unhappy for the rest of your life.


And i wholeheartedly agree with the not-healthy relationship, but fixing issues is what i've come to believe a relationship is all about.

You say fixing issues is your goal, but your question is about coping with the emotional issues your wife causes for you. Either by her behaviour or by her ridicule if you bring any of the issues up.
Your wife is emotionally manipulating you into compliance. THAT is the issue that has to be fixed - not your lack of coping with it.

  • I suppose i didn't articulate what the goal/issue is, since it draws to much focus on separate cases instead of the big picture. This isn't a jealousy/romantic exclusive issue, its the way i presented it, but the double standards are ever more present in other areas. I have tried talking about it multiple times to no avail, as if she doesn't understand my points of view - we're very different intellectually(she is a book-smart person and very emotional while i'm more sound logic based and resourceful) so she often doesn't get my views on a number of topics and we simply agree to disagree. – Plamen Sep 26 '18 at 15:35
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From your question and comments, it's difficult to see a double standard. Both of you are being jealous, and it looks like you started it. You're describing it in terms that make her seem like she's going further, but neither you nor I know how she sees it. There's no double standard about privacy either, since she chose to cut off your access to her accounts and you chose not to cut off her access.

In a comment on another answer, you say

This isn't a jealousy/romantic exclusive issue, its the way i presented it, but the double standards are ever more present in other areas. I have tried talking about it multiple times to no avail, as if she doesn't understand my points of view - we're very different intellectually(she is a book-smart person and very emotional while i'm more sound logic based and resourceful) so she often doesn't get my views on a number of topics and we simply agree to disagree.

You can't explain yourself so she understands, which suggests that you don't understand her point of view. For many things, it's fine to agree to disagree, but you really do need to be able to communicate on things like behavior standards. You also suggest that you're intellectually superior, and that's a potentially dangerous assumption in a relationship. It leads to lack of respect for the other. In a close relationship, it's necessary for each person to consider the other's viewpoint.

To understand where she's coming from, try sitting down sometime when things are relatively calm and you have some time. Ask her about her take on something you disagree on, such as things you think there's a double standard on. Your goal here is to understand her, not to resolve anything. It's going to be difficult, but refrain from defending yourself or arguing with her. When you ask questions, make sure they're to clarify your understanding of her viewpoint. When you think you understand it, think about it. You need to understand that it's a valid way of looking at part of your relationship, or you're likely to drift apart as a couple.

To let you know where I'm coming from, the post looked like I could have written it in a slightly different universe. I was pretty bad at communicating and respecting other approaches to thinking and decisions when I was young. Sound logic gets you to the wrong place if your premises are wrong. I'm presenting some of the lessons I've learned along the way.

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Three days before even meeting you, this person (who was already her ex) sent her a picture reminding her about a time they had sex, and you're jealous? Seems like the ex was being creepy and unpleasant, and this may well have cemented her decisions to both stop using that app and start dating someone new (which turned out to be you, aren't you lucky.)

I recommend you do not pursue the "we have a double standard here" theory. Instead, pick one of:

  • I am upset and feel jealous because [thing] and here is what I want to do about it. Only if she says "I don't think I should be held to that standard" could you say "but you hold me to that standard." She may not offer that objection.
  • I think you are setting the bar way too high in feeling jealous when I do [thing] and I think doing [thing] should not be something that threatens and upsets you. Only if she says "but you are jealous when I do those exact same things" should you say that actually the things you get jealous about are way worse than the things she gets jealous about.

One of the advantages of this is that when you imagine yourself saying "I am upset and jealous because just before we started going out, your ex sent you a picture that made it clear you were about to have sex" then when you hear that out loud it may occur to you that jealous isn't the best response to that. Compare to "I am upset and jealous because when your ex called me names after hearing I didn't like you two still interacting, you didn't argue with him but just sent smiley faces." It's more complete. You're not asking anyone to guess why you're upset. It's clear.

A similar thing may happen if you choose option 2. "I think you were setting the bar way too high when you objected that overly friendly Messenger conversation with the person who turned out (but you didn't know) was my cousin." Again in hearing this you may realize that since she didn't know it was your cousin, the bar maybe wasn't too high. Or with the milder thing, "I think you were setting the bar way too high when you objected to that student sending me hints about wanting to be closer." She may then clarify, "I wasn't objecting to her sending hints, I know you aren't responsible for that. I was objecting to you not shutting down her line of hinting by telling her you were in a relationship." Then you can say "I get that. I missed all the hints so I didn't shut them down. If I had realized that's what was going on I would totally have told her to forget it, I'm in a committed relationship."

It almost doesn't matter which of the two you choose, other than it should be one you support. For the sake of completeness, let me just point out that you may only pick one. That is, "I am jealous about [thing] and you set the bar too high when [thing]" is a double standard of its own, no?

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